One of the top favorite museums of Iran and Tehran, for visitors from around the world, is the National Jewelry Museum of Tehran. Each piece of the collection of Royal jewels, gathered over years and centuries, has a history behind it. The treasury of national museum holds a rare collection of the gemstones and rubies of Iran and the world. The Persian kings’ crowns, Peacock throne, Darya-I nor, known as the ocean of light jewel, are the most famous pieces of this collection.
In this article we are going to go through some of the main precious items of this museum and the history behind the museum and certain items. With no doubt there are some tips that you have to keep in mind before visiting the jewelry Museum. The opening hours and the best way to get to this museum is also recommended further.
About the collection of National Jewelry Museum
Darya-I-Nur or the Ocean of Light
Darya-i-Nur (Darya meaning sea or Ocean and Nur meaning light) is a rare light pink diamond and the largest one of its kind in the world. This table-cut diamond is set into a mid-19th century setting. This frame is adorned with 457 smaller diamonds and 4 rubies. The Aryan symbol of the lion and the sun can be seen on this detailed frame.
The inscription on the diamond translates as: The Sultan, Lord of Union, Fath Ali of the Qajar, A.D1834
How is the Kuh-i-Nur diamond (Mountain of light) is related to this diamond?
The carat weight of the diamond is estimated to be from 175 to 195. According to Edwin Streeter and Sir John Malcom, the exact weigh of the diamond is 186 carats. It happens that the weight of the famous Kuh-i-Nur diamond (Mountain of Light) was 186 carats too. Also, on different accounts, they have described Darya-i-Nur diamond as the purest diamond which has the finest luster in the world.
The story of Darya-i-Nur completes the story of the next diamond that is mounted on a special Tiara.
Nur-ul Ain or Light of the Eyes Tiara
This Tiara was designed specifically for Farah Diba’s wedding to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. In 1958, Harry Winston delicately adorned this Tiara with fine yellow and white diamonds. On top of this tiara a rare oval pink diamond can be seen.
Jean Baptists Tavernier claims about Nur-ul Ain
This piece of Diamond is no ordinary pink diamond. The story begins when the French traveler Jean Baptist Tavernier visits Golconda in India. He sees a rare pink diamond with 242 carats of weight. This enormous diamond is given the name of Diamanta Grande Table meaning the great table diamond. A research Concluded by Canadian experts in 1965 indicates that this diamond was divided into two unequal portions. One being the Darya-i-Nur diamond and the other being the Nur-ul Ain diamond, placed in this tiara.
Crown of Pahlavi
Reza Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the two kings of Pahlavi era were crowned by this crown for their coronations. The red velvet cloth of this crown is adorned with 3,380 pieces of diamonds, 5 pieces of Emeralds and 2 pieces of Sapphires. There are also 368 pieces of pearls used in this crown making the total weigh of the crown 2,080 grams. The enormous yellow diamond in the front completes the crown. The crown of Pahlavi was designed by famous jewelers of the time. The general design is inspired by Sassanid kings’ crown.
Kiani Crown is known as the crown of Fath Ali Shah. The Qajar kings after him were crowned by it for their coronations. Kiani crown is considered as the first crown which was designed and inspired by the Sassanid kings’ crowns. This glittering crown is adorned with Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls.
Peacock Throne or the Sun Throne
Fath Ali Shah, one of the kings of Qajar era, ordered the making of this throne. The design of the sun is mounted above this throne and that is why in the beginning it was given the name Sun throne. After Fath Ali shah married Tavous Tajodoleh, his favorite wife, the throne was named after her and changed into the Peacock Throne. Tavous in Persian means peacock. This throne used to be kept in Golestan palace along with Naderi Throne. It might be interesting to know that, after some debates, it seems this peacock throne is not the same peacock throne brought from India.
Naderi Throne was also designed by the orders of Fath Ali shah. What makes Naderi throne special is the 22 thousand pieces of diamonds and gemstones used for inlaying the throne. Also, the imprint of the background of the throne indicates aigrettes in different sizes along with patterns of curled dragons and a lion on the first step of the throne. It might be interesting to know that Nader in Persian means rare.
Globe of Jewels
The Globe of jewels is another remarkable piece of the collection. The 51,366 pieces of stones on the globe gives it a weight of 3,656 grams. This Globe was designed by the order of Nasser-ed-din Shah of Qajar. Here is how each part of the globe is specified:
- The oceans and seas by emeralds
- Lands by rubies
- Southeast Asia, Iran, England and France and geographical lines by diamonds
- India by pale rubies.
- Central and South Africa by sapphires
Nadir Aigrette, Shahbano Crown, Queen’s neckless, a jeweled belt, Emerald and Diamond neckless, Royal pitcher, Royal Swords, daggers and shields, Royal headpieces and the many rare gemstones of the world are of the other remarkable pieces that can be find in Jewelry Museum.
History of the museum
How was this Iranian Treasury collected?
The early Iranian treasure was first mentioned in the travelogues of world travelers such as Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Chevalier Chardin, George Mainwaring and Shirley brothers in Safavid era. During the Safavid era (about 400 years ago), the capital of Iran was Isfahan. The collected gems for the royal Safavid monarchies were brought to Isfahan from France, Italy, India, and Ottoman Empire.
Invasions and returns of the treasury
Following the invasion of Mahmud Afghan, this treasure was scattered around the country. Part of the treasure were given to Mahmud’s cousin and the rest were sent to India.
The rule of Afsharid dynasty started after the Afghans were defeated by Nadir. It was then that the treasury was again collected by the efforts of Nadir and Shah Tahmasb the second. Nadir wrote several letters to Muhammad Shah of India requesting the returning of the sold treasuries. The letters were of no use. Finally, after the defeat of India in the famous battle of Karnal, part of the treasure were retuned. Some parts of this treasure never reached Iran. As for the rest, Nadir offered some amount of the Iranian treasure to his army and the neighboring countries such as Catherine the great, Empress of Russia, Sultan Mahmud of Ottoman Empire and Emir of Bukhara.
Kooh-e-Nur (Mountain of light) Diamond
Nadir was assassinated. Following his death, one of his courtiers sold away the famous Kooh-e-Nur (Mountain of light) diamond. The diamond was never returned to Iran. At last, following a long chain of events, it was given to Queen Victoria as a gift.
Qajar era’s additions to the collection
It was during Qajar era that the collection was being completed by royalties after one another. Nadiri Throne, Kiani crown, peacock throne or the sun Throne, ocean of light jewel and many more items were gathered or constructed. The collection was reserved in the Golestan palace for a while.
During Pahlavi era, a major part of the collection were moved to the Central bank. Also, by the order of Reza Shah, parts of the treasury were given to the neighboring empires as a gift. The jewels, diamonds, and crowns were also used by the royal family during ceremonies and their weddings.
Today, the central bank of Iran protects the treasury of national jewels
Important notes before visiting the museum
According to Jewelry Museum’s admission policy:
- All your personal stuff (All types of bags, Cell phones, smart watch, camera, lighter, etc.) must be handed over and put into depository boxes. You are allowed only to take your Treasury booklet with you.
- Visitors must walk in a line through a security gate before entering the museum.
- The available Tour Guide service is free of charge for all visitors.
- The minimum age for visiting the museum is 12.
When Can I visit the National Jewelry Museum?
The Treasury of National Jewels’ opening hours are: Saturday to Tuesday, from 2 PM to 4:30 PM.
Keep in mind that the ticket counter closes 30 minutes before the closing hours.
The Jewelry Museum is closed on Wednesdays. Thursdays, Fridays, and on official national holidays.
Directions and best ways to get to the National Jewelry Museum
The National Jewelry Museum of Tehran is located on Ferdowsi Street. Actually, it is a part of Central Bank of Iran. It might be worth mentioning that the museum is located in downtown Tehran where traffic limitations are managed. That being said, the best way to get there is by Public transportation.
You can take the yellow line, the 4th line, to get there by Tehran subway.
Attractions near the National Jewelry Museum
The Treasury of National Jewels is located near significant Tehran attractions. Golestan Palace, National Museum of Iran along with Tehran Grand Bazaar and many other museums and attractions are located nearby. You can check out our ultimate 3 day Tehran recommended itinerary which includes visiting Jewelry Museum and attractions around it.